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Buffs' Late Surge Not Enough To Overcome Cowgirls

Jan 24, 2007

STILLWATER, Okla.  - Senior Jasmina Ilic had 16 points and freshman Whitney Houston had a career-high 14, but a pair of lapses to open each half prevented the Buffaloes from their first road win of the season as Oklahoma State held on for a 61-58 decision Wednesday night in a Big 12 Conference showdown at Gallagher-Iba Arena.


Colorado (8-10, 2-4 Big 12) fell behind nine points in the first half before mounting a comeback to take a halftime lead. Oklahoma State built a 10-point lead in the second half before the Buffaloes rallied back for a thrilling finish.


CU led 38-37 at halftime, its best first-half point output on the road since scoring 40 against Kansas on Feb. 1, 2006 in its last road win, but missed its first nine shots of the second half and committed seven turnovers as the Cowgirls opened the half on a 12-2 run to take a 49-40 lead. A pair of Aija Putnina free throws accounted for CU's only points in the second half until Houston went coast-to-coast on a rebound and lay-up with 10:40 remaining.


Oklahoma State (15-3, 3-3 Big 12) led 55-45 when the Buffaloes went on a 9-0 run. Four Jackie McFarland points, a Houston jumper and sophomore Caley Dow's first 3-point field goal of season cut the OSU lead to one (55-54) with 6:31 left.


Rashidat Sadiq hit a jumper for OSU and Destanie Sykes hit two free-throws to give OSU a 59-54 lead at 5:54 remaining, which would be the Cowgirls' last points until the closing seconds of the contest.


Houston put the Buffs in position for a comeback. She hit 6-of-10 from the field with three rebounds and three assists in the game. She assisted on a Susie Powers lay-up and hit two free-throws to cut the OSU lead to 59-58 with 2:23 remaining.


The Cowgirls missed their next two shots, but CU couldn't capitalize, turning the ball over on the other end. OSU's Shaunte' Smith then turned the ball over with 53 seconds left to give the Buffs another chance to take the lead. What happened next, illustrates the luck of a team that has now lost its last nine on the road.


Houston drove to the basket and was fouled hard by OSU guard Andrea Riley with 48 seconds left. It appeared that Houston would go to the line for two shots, where she had made her only two attempts of the game, but on the foul she hit the floor hard, right at the basket standard and suffered a bloody nose. She was forced to leave the game until the bleeding stopped and Bianca Smith was inserted to take the attempts. Smith, who had been on the bench since the opening minutes of the second half, missed both tries and Sadiq corralled the rebound.


On the following possession, Smith fouled Riley who hit 1-of-2 free throws to increase the OSU lead to 60-58. Houston, who returned following the Riley free throw, missed on an attempt to tie the game with eight seconds remaining. Riley grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled by Powers. Riley again made 1-of-2 giving CU one last chance. After a timeout, Ilic was able to get a long 3-pointer off from the wing at the buzzer, but it fell just short of the rim.


Oklahoma State sprinted out to an 11-2 lead out of the game as Sadiq and Riley each hit a pair of early buckets. The Buffaloes made just 1-of-8 to open the contest, but quickly recovered.


Ilic brought the Buffaloes back with two long 3-pointers to accent a 12-5 run to cut the OSU lead to 16-14 and a Kara Richards put-back of a Powers missed free-throw evened the score at 18-18. Ilic had 13 of her game-high 16 in the first 20 minutes. 


A running jumper by Ilic along the baseline gave Colorado its first lead at 27-26 with 5:23 remaining. The Buffaloes would lead by as much of four (36-32) in the closing minutes of the half before taking a one-point lead into the locker room. After their slow start, the Buffaloes made 15-of-24 to finish the first half at 50 percent from the field.


McFarland finished the night with 13 points and 10 rebounds, notching her 12th double-double of the season and the 31st of her career.


Colorado will play its fourth road game in five outings and face its first rematch of the season as the Buffaloes take on the University of Missouri on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 11 a.m. MST in Columbia. The game will be televised live to a national audience on Fox Sports Net.